The Stresses and Strains of Caring for Elderly Parents

You love your parents unconditionally; throughout your entire life they have done so much for you, but now it’s your turn to return the favour. You are suddenly feeling the pressure to take care of them a lot more now that they are getting older. You feel like you have to stay strong for the kids, but everyday is a struggle. You are constantly trying to balance your time between caring for your elderly parents, holding down a job and looking after your youngsters. This point in your life has never felt so tough and you’re not sure how to get out of the vicious circle you have entered. Taking care of elderly parents isn’t easy, but it will get easier if you consider some of the following things.

Balancing Your Life and Their Life
Looking after your parents as they get older is much like having more children. They require your attention constantly, they depend on you and you worry about them when you’re not there. Finding the perfect balance between your life and their life is always going to be hard, but try not to exhaust yourself and feel guilty about not being there all the time. See if you can employ a carer to come round to their home everyday or look into local nursing homes. Searching for home care services in PA (or wherever you are based) will help lessen the load. If you can take the pressure off yourself just a little bit, you will start to find the balance eventually.

Plans and Preparations
You realise that the inevitable will happen one day soon and even though it is hurtful to think about, you need to start thinking about funeral homes. Everything always seems to be left on your shoulders to deal with, so it’s not going to be easy. Getting prepared and planning for these things to happen will make it easier when the time comes. Talk to your parents and make sure you know exactly what they want, so that everything can run smoothly after they pass away.
It’s also worth starting to think about in-home palliative care, if the need should ever sadly arise – is a good place to start. If you’ve never had experience of a family member undergoing palliative care before, it can be a steep learning curve when learning what to expect. For example, there are 5 stages of palliative care which is useful to know about. Empowering yourself with knowledge can really help make the whole process easier.

Of course, it makes sense to think about what happens after your loved one passes. As hard as it is, make sure to have conversations about funeral plans to ensure their wishes are taken into consideration. Beyond that, getting advice on practical matters such as how to safely remove a stairlift from your home, for example, is a sensible step as it will contribute to a smoother transition during this difficult time.

Family Disputes
When your parents get older there suddenly seems to be a heightened interest in their finances from other people in your family. Whether it’s your siblings, long lost uncles or even their partners, it is always difficult trying to settle family disputes. Make sure your parents have a will in place and see if you can get power of attorney if they are unable to make decisions anymore. If you are very lucky your family will take every day as it comes rather than trying to predict the future and see how much their inheritance is.

When your parents pass away you can suddenly be filled with regrets. Did you spend enough time with them? Did you tell them you loved them? Letting go of your ongoing regrets can be incredibly hard to do, but don’t beat yourself up about it. You always did everything you could to make their lives more comfortable, so try not to be too hard on yourself.
Taking care of your elderly parents will never be easy, but you will get through it with the right support and preparations along the way.


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